Munira Sibai of Woodbridge is Syrian-American. She was raised in the oil-wealthy United Arab Emirates where she attended high school before coming to the U.S. for college. At the end of November, she will return to the Arabian Gulf as part of a U.S. youth delegation to the United Nations summit on climate change in Doha, Qatar.
Sibai, a second-year student in NOVA's engineering program, was selected for this position by SustainUS, a volunteer-led youth organization that has been sending highly qualified high school and college students to advocate for sustainability at international summits for more than 10 years. She is the only community college student chosen to represent SustainUS at the climate change conference.
The conference in Qatar is the 18th annual meeting on the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a process that brings together 194 countries to negotiate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the hopes of keeping global temperature rises within two degrees Celsius, a threshold that scientists see as critical for containing damage to communities and ecosystems.
When asked about her passion for addressing climate change, Sibai said, “As soon as I found out about climate change and its immense effects I wanted to get involved in fighting it. I want to make sure that the youth’s voice is heard.”
Before coming to America, Sibai was the president of the environmental club at the Al Bashair Private School in Abu Dhabi and volunteered for a number of local green groups. Sibai acknowledges that the challenge of climate change is enormous but remains hopeful that organized public pressure will force governments to act.
After graduating from NOVA, Sibai intends to continue her studies at a four-year university to pursue a double major in mechanical engineering and public policy. In the future she aspires to improve renewable energy technologies to make them more efficient and affordable and advocate for their use.
Sibai needs to raise money to pay for her travel to the conference. To help her, go to http://www.razoo.com/story/Munira-Sibai.
About the U.N. Convention
The U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change was created in 1992 to solve the problem of rising greenhouse gas emissions and its effects on development. Negotiators from 194 countries will meet in Doha, Qatar, this year to continue negotiations and attempt to repair an 18-year-old international system fraught with inequities and gaps in accountability. Learn more at http://unfccc.int/meetings/doha_nov_2012/meeting/6815.php.
SustainUS is a national volunteer-based youth organization that empowers young people to create a more sustainable world through involvement in international summits and grassroots activities. Through its Agents of Change program, U.S. youth have the opportunity to participate in several UN conferences, including the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Commission on Sustainable Development, The Commission on the Status of Women, and the Commission on Social Development. Learn more at http://www.sustainus.org/.
Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.